Written by: Anshul Bhagi
Jan. 27, 2011
On Monday, Day 1 of Week 3, we were fortunate enough to have five young Kenyan entrepreneurs visit our course as guest speakers. These five were either recent graduates, college drop-outs, or current college students who had experienced the ups and downs of starting a company and were able to engage our class of 21 students on the following topics:
The panel went fantastically, and the advice and words of wisdom from our panelists were very relevant to the goals and vision of our 3-week Android + Entrepreneurship course.
Here are the bios of our five panelists:
Kariuki is the founder of Zege Technologies, an IT company whose main objective is to deliver solutions in the new emerging market of mobile money and related services in the banking and finance sector. He is the lead system architect and software developer and graduated from Kenyatta University with a degree in computer science. He has had a number of years of experience in the IT industry with online media and also in the banking sector especially when it comes to information systems that drive financial institutions. Most prestigiously he developed the M-KESHO integration technology that the bank uses to transfer money from Bank accounts to M- PESA.
Hilda is a 4th year student at Strathmore University, pursuing a Bachelor Degee in Business in Information Technology. She emerged the winner of the 2010 Mobile Boot Camp competition that takes place every year at the University. She developed a mobile system called ‘M-order’ which provides a new way for clients of beverage companies to shop quicker and efficiently by using mobile technology. She is also the co-founder of ‘M-Kijiji’ Ideas Initiative program (MKIIP). This initiative program allows students to brainstorm and share their creative and innovative ideas that will fully utilize the irrefutable benefits of mobile technology. The students then develop applications that will provide solutions to the local community for the common good of the society.
Hilda is also a volunteer mobile developer in a start-up mobile village called Zealgour Solutions. In addition to all this she provides printing and related services around Strathmore University. Hilda can be described as an aggressive lady and someone who is clear on what she wants to achieve in life. She can move a crowd with her eloquence and passion for what she does, particularly in the ICT community. Her biggest dream is that young women in Information Technology will make a great impact in the world today via mobile technology. She believes that this change will ensure sustainable development in the community.
Mark is a storyteller. He works with brands, agencies and small businesses helping them communicate and sustain online communities with the help of web technology and social media. He's the writer of the award-winning Warner Bros. videogame Pamoja Mtaani and is a partner at Afrinnovator, one of Africa's leading blogs on innovation, technology and startups. He's a principal at web startup GotIssuez, an online feedback & suggestion box for African companies. He speaks regularly at universities and conferences and always enjoys a good laugh. He blogs on creativity and technology over at Mark.co.ke
Derick is an alumnus of Strathmore University (DBIT `06-`07), AITI (`08), and currently (in his final year) pursuing Bsc. Computer Science from the University of Nairobi. He's passionate about technology and the great impact it can have in our lives. Currently his focus is on mobile technologies, and he has gained some hands-on experience by working as an intern for the Nokia Research Center Africa and for Google Zurich.
Derick believes that mobile technologies afford communities the requisite flexibility needed to increase technology uptake in Kenya, where the number of mobile phones far exceeds that of traditional PCs. Derick plans to get back on the entrepreneurship scene over the coming months, after a failed start-up attempt a few years back.
As a Japanese Ministry of Education Engineering Scholarship recipient, Bernard studied Information Engineering & Electronics in Japan. He built software for a number of Japanese companies before returning to Kenya where he worked on several IT businesses (www.mkahawa.net included) before joining the start-up mobile VAS provider - Cellulant. At Cellulant, he was in charge of infrastructure and oversaw expansion to Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Botswana & Tanzania. Currently, he's based at the ihub where he is involved with zynde.com, m-order and other businesses, and is a member of the government task force on Visual Effects & Animation Industry.